The American Outlaws flocked to NRG Stadium in Houston for the Copa America semi-final match-up between the United States and Argentina. As Americans, “[we] believe that we will win,” but did you really expect the USMNT to beat the number 1 ranked team in the world?
This game was deemed to be monumental for soccer in the United States, should they have pulled off the upset. It was folks such as the all-American loving, mega homer, FOX Sports analyst, Alexi Lalas that truly believed that the upset was coming.
Alas, the United States did not. Argentina spanked us 4–0. Anyone who watched the game knew that after the first Argentine goal that the U.S. was in for a long night.
Messi showed us why Argentina is truly the best team in the world. His goal, the second of the night for Argentina, was magical. An all-timer in terms of ball placement. The ball bent into the top right corner of the goal with pinpoint accuracy on the free kick. No American player could do that. Honestly. Dempsey, Bradley, Altidore, Jones, Zusi, Beckerman, Wondolowski, and Johannsson can’t do that. It is nothing against those players, but they are not Messi.
Careless turnovers and a failure to hold possession just made things difficult for the National Team. Argentina played keep away. The U.S. did not even register a shot.
Let me say that again. America did NOT have a shot in the entire game. Argentina had 14 shots with 9 on goal. We had no pressure. We were not physical (but how can you be against Messi).
Look, I want the USMNT to succeed but, how in the world do we expect a team that is rated 31st in the world to pull off a massive upset over the number 1 team in the world? This is not March Madness.
But back to the FOX analysts. Lalas, formerly of ESPN, just laid into fellow contributor Fernando Fiore when he went against the American-heavy pre-match predictions. Aly Wagner, Jenny Taft, and Stuart Hoffman just about went into full “Lalas mode” with their predictions.
One of the best parts of the pre-game coverage though came during that prediction segment. Aly Wagner, or maybe not Aly (but probably Aly Wagner) said that they understand rooting for Argentina if you were born there, but it would be ridiculous for Americans to root for Argentina because they are Messi fans.
I cannot stand when we are narrow-minded and follow one way of thinking. As a fan, you have your ties to respective teams but as an analyst, you must know the game well enough to make an educated prediction. That’s how you got the analyst gig right?
You have the ability to convey your point of view to the audience. You should give reasons as to why the USMNT could win the game. At that point then, I would accept an analyst playing the homer card, or the former player taking their former team card.
But when emotion takes over completely and there is a blatant disregard for actual analysis, you come off as a mega fan, or as I like to say, you go into Alexi Lalas mode.
***This post originally appeared on John Amoroso’s Medium page on June 22, 1016***